Archive | December, 2011

Review: Roxolana Restaurant and Wine Bar (Pasadena, CA)

26 Dec

Friend of Nerf, Jennifer, is back with another review of her dining experiences…

Roxolana Restaurant and Wine Bar


First off, this was my first time at a Ukrainian and Russian Restaurant.  I had no idea what to expect, and since Allison had a Groupon for this particular establishment; well, we went and came out alive.  (No one got drunk, not until later that night.  I blame happy hour).

The Groupon consisted of 1 appetizer, 2 entrees (each value less $21.00), and a bottle of wine.

The first thing that came out was the wine.  I thought that this particular sparkling wine was delicious. This bottle was worth $28.

The appetizer we chose was the potato pancake with caviar and sour cream (value $11.95, sorry no picture).  I thought that the pancake tasted alright.  I wish ordered the cabbage and mushroom crepe (because people on Yelp thought it was delicious).

Now came the entrée, and honestly, this was the one of the most delicious I have had in a while.  The Chicken Kiev (value $20.95) is rolled chicken breast stuffed with herb butter; also served with white rice and vegetables.  The dipping sauce that’s pictured is pineapple orange infused sauce.  Once this dish was put down in front of me, I wondered what was so great about it.  Someone had said that this dish was magical on yelp.  I finally understood why.  I started to cut into the chicken, and the first thing I saw was the herb and butter inside the chicken oozing out.  Also in this picture, you would think that the chicken looked small, but it’s not!  I got full after one!  I did not think I could get up from the chair.  I wanted to be rolled out of the restaurant. Plus, it even tasted better the next day.  Well worth it.

Allison ordered the French Style Meat (value $18.95) with the choice of veggies and fried potatoes.  The French Style Meat is beef and onions with cream reduction topped with provolone cheese.  I had a bite of this, and we both thought it was too well done.  Then again, she didn’t have a choice as to how it was cooked.  Easy to say that if she comes back here, she will just order the Chicken Kiev.

Now for dessert, we ordered the Red Wine Mousse (value $5.50).  I haven’t had a good mousse in a while and mostly I had them only at buffets. I thought it tasted smooth and light.  I wish that I have another cup sitting in front of me right now.  I will definitely order this again.

Overall experience, I say that this restaurant received 8/10.  The service was great; we got seated before our reservation time, and they did not bug us while we were eating, which was a plus.  Really, who wanted to be asked “how’s it taste?” when you are still chewing on a piece of meat?

‘Tis the Saison to be Jolly…

22 Dec

Well maybe not the consumption season but traditionally it is the brewing season for my favorite types of brew: the Saison. I remember my first rendezvous with a saison well. Like a bored housewife I was lured by the intrigue and excitement of this unfamiliar style…you, you’re new, and I’ve never had this taste in the past…

Ok, so I’m exaggerating a bit. My co-worker and I wanted to get smashed during our lunch hour; and where can we successfully get smashed and call it “lunch?”…Karl Strauss to the rescue!  Their special brew for that month was their saison and I was intrigued by the description of “floral tones” and what not (or whatever, as stated I got pretty inebriated so I can’t remember). However, what I drank that afternoon was nothing short of spectacular; I instantly fell in love with this brew.

This event happened maybe about two and a half years ago and ever since then, if I ever see a saison on draft at a bar (like tapping out the keg at Hamilton’s and getting the glass for free, score!), I must get it. What I have found is that a saison differs greatly from brewer to brewer but I still find it delicious. For the most part saisons are not very hoppy, have floral and fruity components as well as some spice and they are always very refreshing.

So for our blog I decided to hit up BevMo and choose two bottled saisons, the only requirement for choosing a specific brewery was that the beer had to be cheap. This type of brew was, after all, made on farms to give to farmhands in the hot hot heat of the summer.

Pablano and I got our hands dirty. First up was Hermitage’s 1 Door Saison Style Ale, which was very cheap (I think less than $3!). The color was an orange-brown and very clear (usually saisons are unfiltered since they are/used to be brewed in such a rustic manner on farms. The flavor was not very strong– it was pretty spicy and a little floral.


Next up was Odonata’s Saison Ale. At around $6 for a bottle it was a tad pricier however, this saison was a bit more fun. First off, the color was more golden and it was most definitely unfiltered. Because I had not thought of it at the moment, I wasn’t careful about pouring and lots of sediment was in my glass. But I let the sediment settle as I polished off my previous glass of 1 Door saison. Another thing that was different about this pour was that there was a lot more head compared to the former. The flavor was definitely stronger than the former, with some spice, a little bit of sweetness and some citrus fruit flavors (I think I remember reading that it had some pineapple in it). Very refreshing!! This was exactly what farmers wanted to do: brew a cheap refreshing beer.

But who am I kidding…I am not a beer sommelier or connoisseur I just love any excuse to drink lots of beer, especially saisons!

**Authors note: I think I still like Karl Strauss’s saison more. I will most definitely have to try Green Flash’s saison next. Beer run anyone?

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